By Ron Wynn
NASHVILLE, TN — Vocalist/actress Melba Moore has enjoyed an extraordinary career stretching across multiple decades. But rather than dwell on her lengthy list of accomplishments in theater, television and music, Moore prefers to talk about her newest project, the LP “Imagine.” For one thing, it is on her daughter Melba Charli Huggins’ (a Fisk graduate) independent label. For another, she says this project was far different than any she’s ever done.
“For one thing we didn’t have anyone telling us that we couldn’t do this song or that song,” Moore told the Tribune during a phone interview last week. “If I liked the song and I thought it would work, I would do it. We took time to get the right mix of tunes and I’m really happy with how it’s turned out.”
“Imagine” has been called a return to her soul roots, and it’s a showcase for the exceptional, multi-octave range and impressive delivery and interpretative skills that have always been a Moore staple. But she’s says it’s also the kind of album that people are selecting different tunes to enjoy.
“Everywhere that it’s been played there are songs coming out that people really love,” Moore continued. “I can’t really say any one song is one we’re emphasizing because there have already been two or three that have gone to number one on different charts. It’s a first for me, to have multiple number ones off the same LP.”
“So In Love” has already topped the charts in the United Kingdom, and it’s gotten an equally strong response on these shores as well. But there are several other gems as well, with personal favorites being “Since I Took My Heart Back” and “Take Me Away,” as well as “So In Love.” But there’s no tune on “Imagine” that’s not impressive.
Melba Moore’s lengthy list of accomplishments deserve their own article. There’s too many to individually mention, but among the most noteworthy are releasing over 20 LPs since 1970, enjoying two #1 R&B singles and multiple R&B Top 10 hits, being the first Black woman to replace a white actress on Broadway in “Hair”, winning a Tony Award for “Purlie,” having her soaring version of “Lift Every Voice & Sing” be deemed the second “Black National Anthem” in 2017, and a lengthy and distinguished career as a civil rights and social justice activist. She’s worked for many years with both the National Council of Negro Women and National Political Congress of Black Women.
Released over 20 albums since 1970 and earned several R&B top ten hits and two #1 R&B singles.
She’s scheduled to receive as special acknowledgement from President Joe Biden in August, and Moore adds that there are more things coming this year. “I’ve definitely got some things planned for the theater in the near future, including a biographical project. And there may also be some touring down the line.”
“Imagine” is now available on various streaming and online platforms.